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08february2011002London: US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, is set to visit the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe, Tuesday (08 February), to discuss bilateral issues and look into the situation of refugees in the region.

Maria Otero, who started her tour of India, Bhutan and Nepal, Tuesday, also serves as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues. This is her visit to Bylakuppehe, however, she last visited Dharamshala in August 2009 shortly after her appointment to the role in June of that year. During her confirmation hearing she stated that the Obama administration was "disappointed by the lack of progress during eight rounds of talks between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama's representatives," adding that "substantive dialogue...holds out the best hope for progress in addressing the legitimate, longstanding, concerns of Tibetans, which have been a key factor in recent unrest."

The State Department's spokesman made the following announcement on 7 February concerning the upcoming visit, "Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will travel to India, Bhutan and Nepal from 8 - 14 February 2011. She'll will travel to southern India and New Delhi discuss bilateral coordination on global issues, visit Tibetan refugee settlements, explore cooperation to strengthen election organizations in third countries, and consult on regional disaster management. In Nepal, Otera will hold meetings with senior Nepalese officials and civil society representatives and engage on Tibetan refugee and trafficking in persons issues."

Following her visit to India, Otero will visit Bhutan Feb 11-12 to discuss the protracted situation of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. She will then visit Kathmandu Feb 12-14.

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